This article appears in the June 2022 issue of Investment Executive. Subscribe to the print edition, read the digital edition or read the articles online.

Research for Investment Executive’s (IE) 2022 Dealers’ Report Card was conducted by seven research journalists: Laurent Bouthillier, Brian Capitao, Joseph Eskander, Emily Fox, Roland Inacay, Alisha Mughal and Cyndia St-Cyr Montes. This year, the researchers spoke with 413 financial advisors with 10 dealer firms: eight full-service and mutual fund dealers, and two independent dealers.

Category ratings for independent dealer Portfolio Strategies Corp. were excluded due to insufficient data collection during the research period; however, those respondents still provided personal demographic data.

Research was conducted via phone interviews between Feb. 18 and Mar. 31, 2022, and focused on how advisors felt about the support services and programs offered by their respective dealers. Participants were asked to provide two ratings for their firm’s services — one for performance and the other for importance — on a scale of zero to 10 for each of the 29 categories included on the main chart (this tally excludes the IE rating and Net Promoter Score). A rating of zero means “very poor” or “unimportant,” while a rating of 10 signifies “excellent” or “critically important.” Advisors were asked to provide ratings only for services with which they had direct experience, but could offer importance ratings for all areas.

All respondents were full-time financial advisors, had worked at their firm for at least one year, had worked in the industry for at least three years, and were securities and/or mutual-fund registered.

IE removed one category, “ethics,” and added a new category, “diversity, equity & inclusion policies.” Furthermore, the former “mobile technology support” category has been updated to encompass support for remote work, and is now called “remote work & mobile technology support.”

Each year, the researchers ask two supplemental questions. This year, advisors were asked to rate the difficulty of adjusting to the Canadian Securities Administrators’ client-focused reforms, the last stage of which came into effect on Dec. 31, 2021. Respondents also were asked which issues were most prevalent for their vulnerable clients (defined mainly as senior clients, but which could include children and people with disabilities). The options given were “difficulty choosing a trusted contact person,” “health issues affecting financial decision making,” “suspected/potential for financial abuse,” “income/investment return generation” or “other,” with the option to choose all of the listed issues.